Eschaton – Sentinel Apocalypse (Unique Leader)

Sunday, 10th May 2015
Rating: 7.5/10

Maybe it’s the nerdiness coming out, but hearing the title of Eschaton’s debut album, Sentinel Apocalypse, just brings about visions of the X-Men. Of course, that’s not what the title is referring to (but it were, it wouldn’t be the first comics were used as source material), which moves towards more traditional end of the world scenarios.

Seeing the Unique Leader label and hearing the first listen, one might expect that Eschaton also hails from the seeming tech death landmark of California, but Eschaton calls New England their home. All of the usual technical death metal playbook strategies are approached here with reckless abandon. Lightning speed riffage with plenty of virtuoso flair, a snarled vocal performance, blastbeats abound, and even a sample here or there. With the wisdom that over-the-top technicality can only get a band so far, there are some breaks where the band decides to go on a groovy bender. The breaks are welcome, with sections like those in “Immortal Mutilation” really going the extra mile to reinforce some heaviness by slowing things down before taking off with a burst of speed and frantic riffing. The album does avoid one pitfall of the genre by really keeping things heavy. The production doesn’t come off as sterile (as these things tend to sometimes do), and helps give things a bit more bite.

While it doesn’t really push anything forwards, Sentinel Apocalypse is a good representation of what many have come to expect from the technical death metal tag. The wise inclusion of groove elements keep the songs digestible, despite the otherwise constant barrage of complex and spiraling riffs and should suit the band well going forward. A certain thumbs up for fans of what Unique Leader has to offer.

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